To say it was a sombre weekend of motorsports would be quite an understatement. Sure, there weren’t as many disciplines to follow but Moto3 and MotoGP made sure to satiate our thrill quotient for the next two weeks. Plus, there was a successful Extreme E season opener to look forward to as well as track and regulation changes for F1 and WEC. Here’s more about it:
The previous week’s season opener at Qatar was already quite the action packed race, and the second round of the 2021 MotoGP season at the same track saw more thrills to offer. Yes, it was another Yamaha win, but this time it was Maverick Vinales’ teammate Fabio Quartararo. He recovered from a difficult first stint and then sliced through the field to take a brilliant win. Following him in second place was Pramac Ducati’s Johaan Zarco with rookie teammate and pole sitter Jorge Martin taking a well fought maiden podium, after a valiant defensive ride to hold onto the race lead for majority of the race.
Johann Zarco’s early consistency has put him in the lead of the rider’s standings, despite him not winning a race. But that prospect looks ever closer to reality if he keeps up this consistency. Next up will be the Portugal Grand Prix on April 18, where the long awaited return of Marc Marquez is expected.
The newest form of ‘all-electric racing’ finally commenced with the season opener of the Extreme E off-road series at the Desert X-Prix in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia. Rosberg X Racing, the team owned by 2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg created history by becoming the first Extreme E winner. The duo of Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor, piloted the standardised Odyssey 21 electric SUV to win the inaugural race ahead of the Andretti United pair of Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings in second place. The X44 team owned by 7-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton took the final spot on the podium with the duo of Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez.
Extreme E will head next to Lac Rose in Senegal, for the Ocean X Prix scheduled to run from May 29-30.
Ahead of the 2021 Formula One Australian Grand Prix, scheduled for November 21, the organisers of the event revealed the tweaks it’ll make to Melbourne’s Albert Park Grand Prix circuit in the hopes to aid overtaking. The changes include the removal of the Turn 9-10 chicane, widening the track at Turns 1, 3, 6, 13 and 15, as well as alter the camber angles at Turn 13 and 15. While it’s yet to be seen whether the overtaking issue will be reduced, lap times are expected to be faster by around 5 seconds.
With the 2021 World Endurance Championship season barely a month away from commencing at Spa-Francorchamps, the FIA WEC Committee and the ACO announced tweaks to the LMP2 technical regulations. With the aim to ensure a performance differential between the Hypercar and the LMP2 categories, the Gibson engines in the LMP2 category will have their power restricted to 544PS. The minimum weight has also been increased by 20kg to 950kg. The 2021 season will also have the Indian team to compete in the 24hrs of Le Mans scheduled for August 21-22, with the Racing Team India squad of Narain Karthikeyan, Arjun Maini and Naveen Rao.
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